Two years ago I transferred to CU Boulder from a small public college in Charleston, South Carolina. At the College of Charleston, I was introduced to computer science and fell in love with learning it. It was so different from my experiences in my other liberal arts classes. Instead of regurgitating the same writing and critical reading skills I developed in high school, it was exciting to learn something entirely new, especially something that can be so instantly gratifying. Getting a program that you’ve written to run for the first time and immediately seeing the result is thrilling. That’s not to say that progressing and honing writing and reading skills isn’t important, but the application possibilities for what I was learning in computer science felt endless. It felt tangible and relevant; I could make things and the things I made would make an impact.
When I made the decision to transfer into CU Boulder because of its cost and proximity to home, I made another big decision to declare my major in computer science. All throughout high school and my freshman year of college, I had no specific interest which was more attractive to me than others. I’d always loved a wide array of subjects, from science to studio art to English. I knew I would probably struggle in eventually deciding on a major, and realistically accepted that I would happily remain undeclared for as long as possible. My positive reaction to computer science in Charleston, however, inspired me to just go for it and follow my interest as I made the switch to Boulder.
Computer science here at Boulder started out great. I got involved with the Women in Computing Club, even applying and being chosen to represent CU Boulder at Qualcomm’s Collegiate Women in Computing Conference in San Diego. It was there that I experienced what a future in computing could look like – and I was a little disappointed.
Of course there are many examples of programming work which involve more than sitting at a cubicle and typing away all day, but being introduced to employees doing just that at the conference was enough to have me shifting back towards undecided.
The girls I met there were very passionate about programming and computer engineering, and I found myself not mirroring their enthusiasm. In fact, I lost mine all together.
At Charleston there was a degree program called Computing in the Arts, or CITA, and within it students were encouraged to study computer science with a focus in either theatre, art, or music. I loved the idea of combining my keenness for art and music with the enabling mechanism of computing.
When the Technology, Arts, and Media program here in Engineering/Atlas announced its BS in TAM degree, it sounded like a more comprehensive version of the CITA program in Charleston. I knew immediately that it would lead me toward the creative applications of computer science I so desired.
Since switching my momentum to pursue the BS in TAM, I have had a great time picking up all the new skills I can, in photography, film, music production, programming, etc. Which brings me to this class, in which I hope to explore my own design process and my aesthetic interests, as well as pick up other useful skills, like working with hardware (Arduino) and machine shop tools.
All of this is a long-winded, overly-retrospective way of explaining that I don’t know what career I’d like in the future. Most likely, I won’t be able to narrow it down. I am happy just learning as many skills as I can, especially practical ones, and if they don’t all assemble and facilitate one perfect job, that is fine with me.
I think once I graduate, I will pursue an internship in one area of interest, hopefully something music-production-related (that is at the top of my stack of interests right now), and then try it out to see how it goes. The best way to learn is on the job, so ideally I would be able to change my mind or re-direct my focus after more hands-on experience in any particular field.
Link to my skill set post: http://www.aesdes.org/2016/02/08/meridiths-skill-set-for-team-draft/
Dream job: I mean, anything is possible.